2017.06.22 15:16:46

What Do You Have to Lose?

Order of Worship


Friends,

The ancient philosopher, Heraclitus wrote, "Upon those who step into the same river, flow other and yet other waters. All things are in flux like a river. The only thing that is constant is change." That truth is sometimes hard to handle. I have dear friends who have told me many times that they do not like change of any kind. It is unsettling; it stirs our vulnerabilities. But, that attitude doesn't change the inevitability of change.
 
In our passage for this week, Matthew 10:24-39, the disciples are told that their job is to bear witness to the changes that God is bringing into the world. It is gospel truth that the Kingdom of God is going to be unlike anything familiar or rote. Worldly values are going to be upturned; the meek are going to inherit the earth and those who pride themselves on righteousness are going to find out they have another thing coming. Big changes are coming and those who have a stake in the status quo are going to mount a defense. In the face of this opposition, Jesus offers words of encouragement, patience and power to his disciples.
 
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday.
 

Martha 
Rev. Martha Wingfield



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2017.06.14 15:01:03

 

Songs in the Key of Life

Order of Worship

 

 

Friends,
When in our music God is glorified,
and adoration leaves no room for pride,
it is as though the whole creation cried
Alleluia!
 
How often, making music, we have found
a new dimension in the world of sound,
as worship moved us to a more profound
Alleluia!
 
So has the Church, in liturgy and song,
in faith and love, through centuries of wrong,
borne witness to the truth in every tongue,
Alleluia!
 
And did not Jesus sing a psalm that night
when utmost evil strove against the Light?
Then let us sing, for whom he won the fight,
Alleluia!
 
Let every instrument be tuned for praise!
Let all rejoice who have a voice to raise!
And may God give us faith to sing always
Alleluia! Amen.
 
I'm sharing the lyrics to this hymn by Fred Pratt Green as your invitation to join us in our Hymn Sing this Sunday at both services. Our Music Director, Jeff McConnell, has prepared hymns and anthems and some special surprises for our worship. It will be a great Sunday.
 
As you read this, Carolyn Ingram, Cathy McGinnis, Kim Ports and I are attending our Annual Conference at the University of Redlands. We look forward to sharing with you the highlights of this conference in the weeks ahead.
 
In Christ,  
 
Martha 
Rev. Martha Wingfield

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2017.06.07 15:10:52

The Power of a Little Word

Order of Worship

 

Friends,

The scripture this week presents the very last words of the Gospel of Matthew. This does not mean that we are done with the first gospel; the great determiners of the lectionary will return us to the middle chapters for the long season of Pentecost. But this week, we are going to "start with the ending." The last verses of Matthew, (Matthew 28:16-20) commonly referred to as "The Great Commission," offer us the last words of Jesus to his disciples. And in these few parting words, one word in particular stands out - "Go!" It is a commission, a command, and a challenge all in one little word. But that word has the power to turn lives around - both for those who leave their old lives to give of themselves for others as well as those who are the recipients of the gracious witness of Christ's followers. For those who accept that challenge, one's daily living becomes a spiritual discipline of putting others first. The title of the sermon is "The Power of a Little Word."
 
Also this Sunday, we will recognize Marian Laret and Chris Hildebrand for their decades of service in liturgical art and worship enhancements. Our congregation has benefitted weekly because of their creativity and as they now step down from these responsibilities, we want to express our thanks to them.
 
Our Annual Conference will be in session from June 13 -17. Your delegation from San Carlos will be Carolyn Ingram, Cathy McGinnis, Kim Ports and me. Karl Ports will be part of the production crew for the sessions. We appreciate your prayers for this meeting which will be the first one under the leadership of Bishop Grant Hagiya.
 
See you Sunday,

Martha
 
Rev. Martha Wingfield

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2017.05.31 16:15:24

 

Inviting the World to Dinner

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Friends,
Come down, O Love divine,
seek out this soul of mine
and visit it with Your ardor glowing;
O comforter, draw near, within my heart appear,
and kindle it, Your holy flame bestowing. 
 
                                     - Bianco da Siena
 
The metaphors of flame and fire are aptly used to describe the action of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It is the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus to his disciples that the Holy Spirit will come and sustain the church. After Jesus ascended to heaven, the Holy Spirit descended to the faithful disciples and inspired and energized them. It is out of that experience of the oneness of God that the church was born.
 
Henri Nouwen wrote "Without Pentecost the Christ-event -- the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus -- remains imprisoned in history as something to remember, think about and reflect on. The Spirit of Jesus comes to dwell within us, so that we can become living Christs here and now."
 
The season of Pentecost begins on June 4. This liturgical season is the longest season in the church year, extending through November 26. It is so long, in fact, that this season is also referred to as Ordinary Time. Despite the mundane name, the title suggests the sacred nature of everyday life and the growth and vibrancy of the church enlivened by the Spirit.
 
Our text this week, Acts 2:1-21, tells how the fiery, windy entrance of the Holy Spirit ignited the hearts of the early disciples to spread the good news of God's love in Jesus Christ to everyone they met. It is also fitting on such a day to gather around the communion table in remembrance of God's inclusive love. The title of this week's sermon is "Inviting the World to Dinner."
 
See you Sunday,

Martha 
Rev. Martha Wingfield

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2017.05.25 14:55:27

Up, Up, But Not Away

Order of Worship


Friends,

Luke is the only gospel writer who also writes a sequel; the gospel of Luke is the story of Jesus; the Book of the Acts is the sequel that tells the story of the followers of Jesus living like Jesus.  What distinguishes Luke from the other gospel writers is his desire to weave Jesus' earthly life and ministry together with the growth and development of the church. In Luke's view, the story of the disciples, who became the church, represents the continuation of the story of "all that Jesus began to do and teach" (Acts 1:1). Together, the two books tell about what God was doing in Jesus and what God continues to do through the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church. The last chapter of Luke (Luke 24:44-53) and the first chapter of Acts (Acts 1:1-11) tell of the ascension of Christ and provide the pivot point in this two-part story. We will read both stories on Sunday and the title of the sermon is "Up, Up But Not Away."
 
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday,
 
Martha 
Rev. Martha Wingfield

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2017.05.18 14:52:44

 More Than Jesus and Me

Order of Worship


Friends,
 
This Sunday, we welcome Rev. Jim Seaton to the pulpit. Rev. Seaton has served several churches in the California-Pacific Annual Conference including: Christ UMC, FUMC Escondido, La Mesa First UMC and Chapel of the Valley UMC. 
 
Along with pastoral ministry, Jim is a certified Spiritual Director and member of The Upper Room's Academy for Spiritual Formation. Jim retired from pastoral ministry in 2015 after 40 years in ministry and since then, he and his wife Donna have made San Carlos their church home. Jim and Donna have been married 42 years and have two adult sons, Jeff and Jon. Donna has shared her gifts with our church family by playing piano for the Tuesday Vespers service and serving on the Finance Committee. Jim has taught several courses, presided at the Vespers service and plays drums in the San Carlos Band. 


Jim is a gifted preacher and I am so pleased that he will grace the pulpit this Sunday.  I know you will welcome him warmly. Please see his introduction to this week's text, below.


Martha 
Rev. Martha Wingfield

 

In the Gospel of John, chapters 13-17 are often called Jesus' Farewell Discourse to his disciples. He is preparing them for his departure - his betrayal, trial, and crucifixion. But this is not the end message. For Jesus, the whole of these chapters looks to life on the other side of the crucifixion - the resurrection.

 

The disciples are troubled by Jesus' discourse. "Is he leaving us alone? What will become of us?" In the text for Sunday (John 14:15-21) Jesus addresses their fears. He will ask the Father for another Advocate - the Holy Spirit - to come and be with them. He assures them he will not leave them orphaned but will come to them. And he seeks to ground them in the assurance of his and the Father's love for them.

 

Yet the disciples are still hesitant. It is all so unusual, so off script from their conventional understanding of God. What will this promised presence of Jesus be like? A mystic union? A cozy, personal comfort (just Jesus and me)? A scary call to follow him?

 

After 2000 thousand years those of us who seek to follow Jesus are beset by similar questions. Just what is our relationship with Jesus like? Personal? Private? Communal? Mystical? And how does our relationship with Jesus show itself within our culture and world? Principles? Withdrawal? Engagement? Well, we will do some wrestling with these questions on Sunday as we look at "More Than Jesus and Me."


See you in church,

 

 Jim
Rev. Jim Seaton



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2017.05.10 19:52:30

 Unexpectant Mothers

Order of Worship

 

 

Friends,

Reverend Martha is gone this weekend as she and Myron celebrate their son's college graduation, a key event in a young person's life.   It means a significant change for him.  A transformation for both him and his family.  Life is filled with moments of change.  Nature reflects change in life as well.

Recently around my home I have noticed a number of butterflies, an indication spring has begun and evidence of transformation, of new life around us.  It set me reflecting on the idea of butterflies as images of new birth, transformation, and Easter. They become something new after their "resurrection" from the cocoon. Butterflies are not worms with wings. They are entirely new creations. The post-Easter Jesus was the same and yet different. After Jesus emerged as a vitally different creation, even those closest to him somehow failed to "see" him.  

We are now five Sundays after the Easter event. And my sense is that we are called to a transformation as well. It is part of being changed by our faith. And it is often uncomfortable and unexpected and yet something not totally foreign to us. We change across time as we grow older. Do we change internally? That is a different matter and the subject of this Sunday's worship.   We will look once more at a story that calls us to be "born from above." We are called to become more than we imagine, to look and actually be different than we were or are.

This Sunday is Mother's Day and we want to acknowledge those from whom our life comes. It is my hope that part of your celebration will include joining us as we look at the familiar story in John's gospel of Nicodemus and his quandary of "reentering the mother's womb." What is the lesson and message Jesus is offering Nicodemus and each of us? What will our post-Easter lives entail and look like?
 
Greg
Rev. Greg LaDue

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2017.05.04 18:28:05

What Makes a Church a Church?

Order of Worship


 

Dear Friends,


In some ways, the text this week (Acts 2:42-47) reads much like the Good News newsletter you get by mail or email each month.  It records the "goings on" of the early church.  After verse 46, "Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes,"  you could probably add the ancient equivalent of, “the Fixer Uppers meet on Thursday,” and “donations for the Community Outreach will be collected in the hallway on Sunday.”  This is the news of the church being the church. We will celebrate the joy of being part of such a "sacred ordinary" this week in worship. Join us as we "praise God and demonstrate God's goodness to everyone."


Following church on Sunday, I will be on vacation and study leave for two weeks. Our son, Luke, is graduating from college next week and I will be attending a preaching conference following that. I have invited Rev. Greg LaDue and Rev. Jim Seaton to preach in my absence. I know you will welcome them warmly.


Martha

Rev. Martha Wingfield


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2017.04.27 14:41:11

 

Going My Way?

Order of Worship


 

Dear Friends,
 
The Gospel lesson this week (Luke 24:13-35) is the story of Jesus’ second resurrection appearance. Two disciples are walking down the road trying to make sense of all that had happened since Easter. As they are on the long road to Emmaus, Jesus comes upon them but they do not recognize him. Ponder the ramifications of that sentence alone for the life of faith. How often have you been in the presence of Jesus in the person of a stranger and remained unaware of the power of that encounter?
 
There is a whole system of ethics in the bible that concerns how one encounters and treats the stranger. This standard of biblical hospitality summons us to view the stranger not with fear but with openness and graciousness for we never know how Christ will make himself known to us. Two quotes from Augustine convey this beautiful mystery: “The teacher was walking with them along the way and he himself was the Way.” “And because they observed hospitality, him who they knew not yet in the expounding of scriptures, they suddenly know in the breaking of bread.”
 
See you Sunday,  
 

 

Martha

 

Rev. Martha Wingfield



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2017.04.20 14:39:16

Practice Resurrection

Order of Worship


Dear Friends,
 
I came across an article entitled "Who Comes to Church on the Sunday After Easter?"  The writer suggests that those in attendance could be characterized in one of two groups.  The first group is made up of the faithful who deeply believe.  The second are those few who have returned after visiting last Sunday to see if what was said about Easter was real and true.
 
The scripture for this week (John 20:19-31) offers us an answer to that question.   The setting is the first day after Easter and the disciples have locked themselves in a house in fear of what is going to happen next.  Jesus appears to them and allays their fears, giving them hope for the future and renewing their call to be the church in his name.  All seems to be better until they realize that Thomas, a leader among them, had missed this post-resurrection meeting.  The remainder of the passage is a teaching for all of us "who have not seen and yet have come to believe."  The title of the sermon is "Practice Resurrection."

See you Sunday,  
 

Martha

Rev. Martha Wingfield



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2017.04.13 14:56:33

The First Page of the End of Despair

Order of Worship


Dear Easter People,
 
E. Stanley Jones wrote of the early disciples that "they had little ritual but a mighty realization. They went out not remembering Christ, but experiencing him. He was not a mere fair and beautiful story to remember with gratitude - he was a living, redemptive, actual presence then and there. They went out with the joyous and grateful cry, "Christ lives in me!" The Jesus of history had become the Christ of experience."
 
Isn't this really the answer to our deepest longings - to experience the power and the grace of God in living relationship with Jesus Christ? To trust that God is alive, transforming our losses and our grief into new beginnings and renewed hope. That is the experience of Easter. This Saturday night and Sunday morning, we come to attest to the experiences that we have had that we are not alone or rejected or washed up. We come to sing "Alleluia" for Christ lives in us!
 
Our Easter scripture is John's account of the empty tomb (John 20:1-18). On Saturday night, Kim Ports will lead the creative and highly energetic Family Service at 5:00 pm. On Sunday morning at our regular times, our Celebration and Bell Tones Choirs will join a brass quintet to present festival music. The sermon title is "The First Page of the End of Despair." There will be childcare at both services as well as Sunday School at 10:00.
 
I hope you will experience the fullness of the Christian story by attending the Maundy Thursday service tonight at 7:00 pm in the Sanctuary. In that service, we will share in Holy Communion and the ritual of hand washing that reminds us of Jesus' call to his disciples to "love one another." On Good Friday, the Fireside Room will be set up as a chapel for personal prayers and meditation from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm and communion will be served at noon.
 
In Christ,  
 

Martha

Rev. Martha Wingfield



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2017.04.06 14:45:48

The Power of Palm Sunday

Order of Worship


Dear Friends,

The dual nature of Palm/Passion Sunday comes from the merger of two traditions into one day. Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. Passion Sunday observes the biblical narrative of Jesus' suffering. Prior to the merger of these two days, many people went from waving palms to celebrating resurrection without hearing the story of the Last Supper, the betrayal, arrest, trial, crucifixion and burial of Jesus. In worship this Sunday, we will hear the story from Matthew 21:1-11 about Jesus' parade into Jerusalem. But, we cannot read this story without recognizing that from the moment he climbs down from the colt he is riding, his feet are directed toward the cross on which he will die. And so, on Sunday, while we wave palm branches and sing the lovely words "Hosanna, Loud Hosanna", we will remember that those words translate into the cry, "save us." This bold request we sing about with excitement and anticipation on Sunday will be fulfilled through the saving deed of Christ on the cross on Good Friday.

 

I invite you to fully participate in the events and services of this week that are listed elsewhere in this message. It is a week filled with poignancy and beauty and truth, both painful and resplendent with hope.

 

See you Sunday,

Martha

Rev. Martha Wingfield


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2017.03.30 16:37:55

Surprised By Life

Order of Worship



Dear Friends,

A popular colloquialism these days is "pivot." I hear it almost daily in regards to politics or business. It is a way of saying that there is a change or shift underfoot, maybe even a course correction. In our Lenten journey, I think this Sunday is our "pivot" into the Easter experience as we read the story of the raising of Lazarus in John 11:1-45. This dramatic story foreshadows the passion and the resurrection of Jesus.
 
There is a lot going on in this story and so as bible study, let me share with you some insights from David Lose, a biblical scholar and preacher whom I follow regularly. He suggests that by paying attention to the verbs in this narrative, the reader can be drawn in personally to what is happening to the characters. So, watch for the verbs - especially in 11:6 - "tarried" or "stayed;" 11:35 - "weep;" 11:43 - "come out;" and 11:44 - "Unbind him."
 
In reading this passage, think about applying these verbs to your own faith experience.
  • When have you known the pain of sensing God's "tarrying" or absence?
  • Recall a time when in deepest sorrow, you realized the presence of God with you in your weeping.
  • "Come out" is a call to leave behind what is old and dead in one's life and accept new beginnings. Does that resonate in any situations in your life these days?
  • And finally, "Unbind him." David Lose suggests that in responding to God's call to participate in the ongoing renewing and redemptive work in the world, we are made partners in God's work. What are you called to unbind or release or set free in your own life or in your community or our world?
This Sunday, we share in the sacrament of Holy Communion as together we pivot toward the drama of the cross and the promise of the resurrection.

See you Sunday,
 
Martha

Rev. Martha Wingfield


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2017.03.23 17:31:43

Believing is Seeing

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Dear Friends,

 

This week, we welcome Rev. Mark Trotter to the pulpit. He will be preaching on John 9:1-41 and I Samuel 16:1-13. Both of these passages address the blessing of seeing with the heart and not just with one's eyes. The title of the sermon is "Believing is Seeing."  It will be a great Sunday.

 

See you then!

 

Martha

Rev. Martha Wingfield



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2017.03.16 15:48:05

Haven't We Met Somewhere Before?

Order of Worship


Dear Friends,

 

The Samaritan woman at the well has always been my favorite evangelist. Like most women in the Bible, she goes unnamed even though her story is the longest story told in the gospels. She has lived a hard and tragic life - loved and unloved, used and abused, scorned by society because of factors beyond her control. She had become expert at being left alone.

 

Then, one day, in the midst of her solitary routine, she meets a stranger - a man from whom she fully expects mistreatment. Yet, what unfolds is the story of her redemption. And the way she becomes a disciple is by testifying to everyone she sees that "she has met a man who told me everything I have ever done." Implied in that testimony is the glorious appreciation and understanding that "he loves me still." She has met Jesus and in that encounter experienced the unconditional love of God and is named now a child of God. Her wonderful story is found in John 4:5-42 and the title of the sermon this week is, "Haven't We Met Somewhere Before?"

 

I look forward to seeing you Sunday,

 

Martha

Rev. Martha Wingfield



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2017.03.09 17:03:14

Ultima Thule

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Dear Friends,

 

One thing we believe about the nature of God is that God is always creating. Last Sunday we read the creation story about Adam and Eve. In that story, God desired a relationship of obedience and faithfulness with Adam and Eve, whose names, you might recall, meant humanity and life. The story was about God's desire for a faithful relationship with humanity and all of life. Well, because of the disobedience of humanity, God's desires were not met. And so, in Genesis 2, the consequences for the actions of the man and the woman were that they did not enjoy full harmony with God. That was their choice.

 

But, let us also remember that God is a God of second chances. This week, in the 12th chapter, God is going to create this longed-for community with another batch of faithful people - the family of Abraham and Sarah.

 

In this story, God relates to this family through a promise. God says, "If you go to the place I have chosen for you, I will bless your family forever. You will be my chosen people." And the response of Abram and Sarai, as opposed to Adam and Eve, is one of faithfulness. They embrace God's promised future with trust and fidelity.

 

The text for this week is brief but the story is great. It is Genesis 12:1-4a and the title of the sermon is "Ultima Thule." The supplemental text is Romans 4:1-5,13-17.

 

I look forward to seeing you Sunday,

 

Martha

 

Rev. Martha Wingfield



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2017.03.02 15:44:00

In the Garden

Order of Worship

 

Dear Friends,

 

At the Ash Wednesday service, I offered the following invitation to observe a holy Lent. I share it with our whole church family as a guide to living out an intentional Lenten season.

 

Every year at Easter, we celebrate with joy our

     redemption and renewal through the life, death, and resurrection of

     Jesus Christ.

 

The season of Lent is a time to prepare for this celebration and to make

   room in our lives for the Spirit of God to renew us in this mystery.

 

 We begin this holy season by acknowledging our need for repentance and

    our need for the love and forgiveness shown to us in Jesus Christ. I

    invite you, therefore, in the name of Christ, to observe a Holy Lent,

            by self-examination and penitence,

            by prayer and fasting,

            by practicing works of love,

            and by reading and reflecting on God’s Holy  

            word.


Let us begin our Lenten journey by together confessing our sins and

     seeking the forgiveness and new life that is promised to us in Christ

     Jesus.

 

Historically, Lent developed as a season of preparing persons for baptism in the church at Easter. The 40 days grew out of this time of preparation for the whole church for the great celebration at Easter. This was also the period when those who had been alienated and lapsed from the church could be reconciled and restored to fellowship. The recovery of the rhythm of preparation and celebration of the Lent-Easter season will revitalize both our congregational worship life and our personal faith journeys.

 

This Sunday, our texts are Romans 5:12-19 and Genesis 2:4 – 3:24. The title of the sermon is “In the Garden.”

 

See you Sunday,


Martha


Rev. Martha Wingfield



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2017.02.27 20:16:43

Ash Wednesday

Order of Worship


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2017.02.23 01:03:41

Faith in the Future Perfect

Order of Worship


 

Dear Friends,

 

In the church's liturgical calendar, we stand this week on a mountain with the full light of Epiphany around us and the shadows of Lent ahead. Come Wednesday, Ash Wednesday - we begin a different sort of journey with Jesus - one that leads to the cross. The lighting will be different. The tone will be determined and focused. In Lent, we will see the promises of God come to rapid fulfillment through the death and resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday.  But let's not move to Lent too quickly - for this week is the climax of the Epiphany season.

 

We have not come to this point all of a sudden: there has been epiphany after epiphany occurring since Jesus was born. The first starlight of Epiphany led the Wise Men to discover in a little Jewish boy a savior. At his baptism, the light of the heavens opened up and God spoke to John, revealing to him that Jesus was the Messiah for whom the world had been waiting. As Jesus gathered his disciples along the Sea of Galilee, they saw in him the light of God and put aside their lives and followed. And then this week, from the top of a mountain, we get a light show the likes of which had not been seen since Moses met God on Mt. Sinai. And in this bright moment comes a mysterious truth, clarifying and confirming that God is with us in Jesus Christ.

 

The texts for this week are Exodus 24:12-18 and Matthew 17:1-9.

 

See you Sunday,

 

Martha

 

Rev. Martha Wingfield



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2017.02.14 20:54:04

I'm Still Standing

Order of Worship


 

Dear Friends,

 

One of the oldest laws in human history is the Lex Talionis, otherwise known as the principle of retributive justice.  It appears in both the Torah and the Code of Hammurabi, and is based on the belief that only by “equitable retribution” can an offended or injured person ever achieve real justice.  We know the principle best by the phrase, “an eye for an eye.”

 

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that, while the Lex Talionis has always been an acceptable and prescribed means of ensuring justice, practicing it doesn’t make us better people, and it doesn’t make the world a better place.  So, Jesus taught to do the opposite of what the world would think you would do to defend yourself and your honor - turn the other cheek, give your accuser your coat, go the extra mile, and love your enemies. Instead of allowing the actions of others to determine our next move, Jesus’ way invites us to respond in every circumstance, in every challenge, according to the nature and character of God.

 

The text for this week is Matthew 5:38-48 and the title of the sermon is “I’m Still Standing.”

 

Martha

Rev. Martha Wingfield



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